The Red-Hot Book of Spanish Slang
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  • The Red-Hot Book of Spanish Slang
  • Mary McVey Gil and Brenda Wegmann
  • Published by: McGraw-Hill
  • Level: Beginner
  • First Published in: 2006

A Spanish book that will teach you everything you didn't learn in your Spanish class.The Red-Hot Book of Spanish Slang comes with five thousand words and phrases, plus helpful hints to help you know when and where to use certain words and phrases.

Review posted: 15/10/2013
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The Spanish speaking world is one with many different countries, dialects, and accents. Having said that, trying to become familiar with Spanish slang can be a very difficult task as every country has their own version of informal words and expressions. One would have to focus on one specific country’s slang or focus on all of them, if possible. Very few books out there manage to offer a list of slang words and common idiomatic expressions from Latin American and European Spanish, but The Red-hot Book of Spanish Slang manages to do just that.

This book is basically a list of over 5,000 Spanish words and expressions from every country in Latin America and Spain. Each word or expression is explained in English and a number of written examples are provided for each phrase; you will even notice that the more difficult phrases are explained through illustrated examples which exaggerate the meaning of the words. Since there are a number of regional variations in Spanish slang, you will notice that every expression is labeled by the country or region where it is most commonly used.

The book does not provide grammar activities, listening exercises, or worksheets to print out and use in class. The book is simply a reference guide for students who want add informal flair to their Spanish skills. Personally I feel that the book could have used a few listening exercises in order to get students familiar with how certain words are used in specific situations. Despite lacking this feature, the book is still very well put together.

I have noticed that many books fail to highlight when certain words are appropriate to use or whether a phrase is specific to a certain context. I was very pleased to see that the book explains this information to the reader in a very clear way. One of the most common mistakes many people make when using new slang words or idioms is using them in inappropriate situations or contexts, but this book does a great job of helping the reader avoid such situations.

The book teaches a lot of expressions used in everyday life, but it also dares to provide more vulgar and bizarre words. Just to give you an idea of how far the book goes, you will come across words like acabar (to have an orgasm) and acojonado (someone without balls, a coward). Having such a variety of informal words can be a very useful thing for students who plan to live or travel abroad. I believe that owning this book can help students communicate in more casual situations and understand the less academic form of Spanish.

Students will get the most benefit out of using this book since it is basically a pocket book filled with definitions, examples, and illustrations. Teachers on the other hand, will not find much use in this book unless it is accompanied by some other type of material. If you are a teacher who wants to prepare the class to use Spanish as it is used in the real world I would also recommend working with this book and Lights, Camera, Spanish by Bill VanPatten.



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